Friday, April 29, 2011

An Introduction to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a popular cookbook and bread baking method. A friend of mind introduced me to the idea several years ago, and after a trying it, I was sold! This is the easiest way to bake bread at home for anyone nervous about bread baking or very short on time (or both)!

There is a “master recipe” and all of the recipes in the cookbook start from this list of ingredients and instructions.

Basic Bread


3 cups warm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T salt
6 1/2 cups flour


1. Add ingredients in the order listed to dough bucket or mixing bowl. This is best done by hand– do not over mix!

2. Cover and let rise in the fridge for three hours or until ready to use.

3. When ready to bake, remove from fridge and sprinkle top of dough with flour. Reach is and scoop up a grapefruit-sized ball of dough. It will be very sticky!

4. Quickly form the dough into a smooth ball (do not knead!) and set it to rest of a pizza peel or wood cutting board that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.

(I over mixed this batch, and the dough was very difficult to work with. My ball kept slumping. You don’t want that, but it will still work and taste okay.)

5. Let dough rest for approximately 40 minutes. 20 minutes prior to baking, put a pizza stone in the oven on the middle rack and a roasting pan or other baking dish on a lower rack. Preheat the oven to 450.

Note: If you are not using a pizza stone, that’s fine, but do no put another tray in to preheat. Do still use a roasting pan, however.

6. When it’s time to bake, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour again, and using a sharp knife, make several slashes across the top. A seashell pattern is my favorite!

7. Fill a measuring cup with 1 cup or so of warm water.

8. Open the oven door and sprinkle your pizza stone or other tray with cornmeal. Quickly slide the dough onto the stone. Immediately pour the water into the roasting pan on the lower rack and quicjly close the oven door before steam can escape. The steam will give your bread a very yummy crust!

9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove and allow to cool before slicing.

10. One batch will make 3-4 loaves of bread.

This bread is wonderful as a crusty side for salads, pasta, and soup. It’s also suitable for sandwiches and snacks!

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